There have been some prominent terms and words popping up in adoptionland this week – ‘touched by adoption’, ‘rehoming’ and one of my favourites ‘coming home’ or ‘bringing them/her/him home’. Also the use of the word ‘daughter’ or ‘son’ for someone who clearly is someone else’s son or daughter!
I have just finished reading The Yellow Sock, the story of the adoption of a baby girl dumped, conveniently, on the doorstep of a Pastor. Not my usual choice of reading material, but I thought I should find out how it’s done! It was, as expected, a blow by blow account and a seemingly honest account of the feelings and tribulations of a pair of prospective adopters. It occurred to me that girls are brought up to see adoption as a reproductive choice, in line with contraception, abortion, abstention, reproductive technologies and any others you can think of. I am reminded that ‘nature’ sometimes has a way of asserting herself, despite all the choices scientists and doctors have made available at great expense. The story this week of the couple who had an embryo implanted and also conceived, to produce siblings born together (no-one knows which is which fortunately) was Mother Nature giving it the two fingers! But nicely, of course!
‘Touched by adoption’ has been touched on elsewhere by fellow adoptees and is an old perennial, it certainly is a persistent one and seems much beloved of those who do not understand adoption and it’s effects. It’s a bit like naming that connection made by adoption ‘the adoption triad’ – a place of power for some, usually those with the money, connections and influence and powerlessness for others, usually the young, vulnerable and disconnected or unconnected. These expressions, like ‘making an adoption plan’, tidy adoption up, take away the painful or ugly bits and cut out the elements of exploitation, profit-making, corruption. They sanitise it for the market, the public, the punters and the operators who can then believe they are involved in an ethical business.
‘Bringing them home’ referring to any adoptee who is being removed from their home, possibly their Motherland and is being cut off at the roots forever, permanently, and with intent, is bizarre in it’s double-think, confusing in it’s application and strange in it’s intentional or unintentional racism.
Those using this expression often refer to the child to be made an adoptee as their ‘daughter’ or ‘son’ as if that child does not have a mother and a father, family, a history and a life. Perhaps it is that they are so eager to be known as ‘mother’ and ‘father’ and that would be understandable, but however honourable the intentions, a little tact and respect go a long way.
When you claim to ‘grok’ some knowledge or technique, you are asserting that you have not merely learned it in a detached instrumental way but that it has become part of you, part of your identity.
So it seems there are those who grok adoption, who have learned it early and learned it well. Organisations like the American National Council for Adoption make it a goal to ensure that happens, to bring knowledge of adoption to younger and younger ‘audiences’, churches with adoption ministries where preaching on adoption is routine, bring the message of adoption for all, demonstrating the microcosm in the macrocosm, using adoptees and abusing them, making them part of the advertising, helping to ensure adoption becomes part of everyone’s identity, ’embeded in the culture’ to quote Russell Moore!